Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'm Reaching Out Because We're Both Asking the Same Question About Each Other's Country

Ever since the terrible news from Newtown I've been thinking about how I can reach out to you. Yesterday it hit me. After listening to people in Israel talk on the radio about what happened in Connecticut, I realized that we're asking the same question about each other's country: Is it safe?

For years I've been listening to this question about Israel. It always makes me laugh (and cry) when I hear tourists visiting Israel for the first time say: "Wow! It's so safe here! I thought I'd see a bomb go off at every street corner."

That's right. Living in Israel is safe and normal. Children are happy, happy, happy, totally safe walking the streets and playing in the parks on their own. It's true that every few years missiles start hitting our cities, targeting school children in schools as they did a month ago. I'm not trying to sugarcoat the dangers we face. Not at all. Children and parents get scared. Everyone does. But the whole country reaches out and helps the people who have been hurt. Our mental health specialists help get us through the rough times and we all hope our leaders find a way to stop the danger so that we can return to our normal, day-to-day routine. Because life must go on!

The point is, I saw the same thing last week. What happened in Newtown was frightening and it should never, ever happen again, anywhere! But it did -- and unfortunately has happened many times in the States -- but everyone in America reached out, the mental health specialists stepped in and now your leaders are looking for effective ways to control the purchase and use of guns.

Is it safe in America? Of course -- when guns are not in the picture and lawmakers put the right laws in place.
Is it safe in Israel? Of course -- when missiles are not shot and both sides truly talk about peace instead of paying lip service.

So let's get rid of all the loaded questions in both countries and pave the path to a safe, peaceful existence.
Wishing you (and us) only Shalom.